“Time with loved ones is our most valuable asset and precious commodity. It can buy happiness.” - Excerpt from forthcoming book: "Praying with Mom"
Time. 24 hours a day is something everyone has equally. No matter if you are a multi-billionaire, millionaire, educated, famous or poor, everyone is allotted the same amount. The rich cannot buy more of it and the poor cannot lose it; everyone is allotted 24 hours in the day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
In light of this, good decisions need to be made because we are not promised tomorrow, as tragically witnessed by Whitney Houston the night before the Grammy Awards.
A young person who is only thinking about a professional athletic career needs to realize that confusing sports with life can lead to dire consequences. Take an NFL player whose average career are only three to three and a half years.
Many end up divorced or financially bankrupt. Time can be a friend or a foe.
Young men recruited to play college football face a tremendous challenge when deciding where to play. An ESPN "30 for 30" special on Marcus Dupree titled The Best that Never Was illustrates how recruiting pressure can prevent young men from achieving all they were meant to be (note: there is more that contributed to Dupree’s demise but clearly had he gone to the school that was best for him, life may have turned out differently). Dupree ended up going to a school he did not fully click with, which was the first falling domino of a less than fruitful football career. Colleges must remember that these men are making the most important decision of their young life.
The attention can be intoxicating to these men. Some of it could lead to entitlement where the athlete thinks more highly of himself/herself than they ought to. Other pressure could lead them to make a wrong decision on their college choice.
In the end, we the college football fan, must realize that these three to five years form the foundation of a lifetime. We do not want to contribute to the Marcus Duprees out there that could have been so much more.
Armani Reeves was a highly-recruited football player and former Penn State commit. He was not even on Ohio State’s radar (actually, OSU probably had him on their radar) until the scandal that rocked Penn State leading to an almost complete overhaul of the football program.
Urban Meyer’s hiring also put OSU on many recruits’ minds, but after much talk with schools like Michigan, Reeves was now a potential Buckeye recruit.
Even before Meyer’s hiring, Michigan recruiting boards predicted Reeves as a member of the 2012 class. But Urban Meyer was hired and Camren Williams came on an official visit. This sparked Reeves' interest.
It is well documented that Reeves and Williams are best of friends, practically brothers. Camren’s father Brent Williams is Armani Reeves' godfather. The bond between the two families is strong.
The recruiting war between Ohio State and Michigan came down to the wire. One thing Michigan had going for them was that they already had a relationship with Armani before Meyer took over. But in the end, Reeves chose Ohio State.
Disappointed Michigan fans claimed that the decision was based on Camren Williams: Cam recruited him to OSU. But Reeves clearly stated on Twitter: “For every1 who says I'm following cam to #OSU. I picked Ohio state for me not for him.. He didn't recruit me at all. Im my own person thanks”
Still, Reeves will spend the next three to five years with his best friend who is more like a brother and will also see his godfather Brent Williams more. After all is said and done and football is no more, relationships and time with those he loves will live on.
As a diehard Buckeye football fan, I was hoping OSU could land Stefon Diggs. Even after Urban Meyer was hired, not much Diggs-to-Ohio State talk was happening.
The first playmaking target was Cyrus Jones, but he quickly soured on OSU and cancelled his visit. Rumor also had Stefon Diggs possibly cancelling his OSU visit, but he came, albeit a day late on a Saturday and stayed maybe less than 24 hours on campus.
Regardless, OSU seemed to make an impression. Many felt that it was between OSU and Florida for Diggs’ services, No one ever thought Maryland was a strong contender.
But it was no secret that Diggs wanted to play college ball with his close friend Wes Brown. In an interview by Rivals.com, Diggs and Brown voiced their desire to play with each other. During the Under Armour All-American game, Wes Brown committed to Maryland.
Speculation grew that Diggs would follow, but the media seemed to believe that Maryland would be overwhelmed by the likes of Auburn, Florida and Ohio State.
What was the reasoning behind Wes Brown’s decision to play at Maryland? Paul Tenorio of the Washington Post writes, "'Just staying home with my mom, make sure everything’s good back home and not go off too far so she won’t have to worry,' Brown said, when asked why he chose Maryland. 'My support is back home.'"
This is also a likely reason why Diggs chose Maryland. Though I am sad he did not become a Buckeye, I am glad he is staying close to home and playing with one of his closest friends. Both their football careers will end some day, but hopefully their friendship will last long after they take off the pads.
Diggs lost his father when he was in the eighth grade, drawing him even closer to his mother. He also has a little brother that looks up to him. Steve Wiltfong of Maryland 24/7 Sports describes Diggs' thoughts on his relationship with his little brother after his father died:
“When I lost my father, it hit me that he will never see me play a high school game,” Diggs said. “My little brother, he looks up to me and I keep him in my heart. I feel like he’s going to do what I’m going to do. If I’m doing the right things, he’s going to want to do the right things. If I’m getting good grades, he’s going to want to beat me. I try to do the right things all the time so I don’t lead my little brother to do the wrong things.”
Though playing at Florida, Ohio State or Auburn may offer Diggs a better chance at winning championships, staying close to home, close to family and being involved in his younger brother’s life will pay far more dividends down the road.
Football will end. Championships last less than a year before another season begins and a new champion is crowned, but being there for your family and loved ones transcends all these.
Diggs made the right choice. The coming years at Maryland will fly by and Diggs will also likely have an NFL career, but the odds of his football days being over in 15 years or less is great. The odds of his family and friends being around longer are much greater.
I hope these two young and gifted men set a trend that decisions are made not solely based on football, but also time with those most important to us.
Football is not forever and many lives after an NFL career are less than satisfied with life. With all the money, thrills and fame, in the end, only time with those we love truly gratifies.
We all need to make the most of it.